A drive up American Fork Canyon into the Uinta National Forest creates an instantaneous “awe” as one cannot help but gasp at the majesty of the craggy canyon walls, the American Fork River gurgling its way out of the canyon, and the acres and acres of forested hillsides.
|Los Crismon, Kilgore, Glazier, Jensen--good food and even better company|
Around 4:30 p.m., we began our wanderings up the canyon with Elder and Sister Crismon who had taken our place as Welfare Specialists in the Caribbean Area Welfare Office. Just eight weeks into their missions, Hermana Crismon fell and broke her hip, which required a quick exit from the DR via a private plane to Florida where she had her hip replaced and within a week she was back home recuperating.
We passed by the guard gate and headed up the canyon, driving slowly and enjoying the incredible views. Soon, we turned into the Mutual Dell, a sprawling congolorament of well-cared for lodges, campsites, and open fields for recreation. Our campsite was a group of picnic tables beneath a solid wooden canopy structure just across the river.
|Elder Atkinson introducing the campfire activity amid the smoke|
We pulled our car into a parking spot when we spotted Elder and Sister Atkinson chatting with another couple. The other couple turned out to be los Roberts who had arrived before we did to stake the claim to our site and ready it for the rest of us. Los Roberts won the prize for coming the farthest—Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Soon, the former missionaries began to arrive—los Atkinson, Brown, Berkeley, Bowcut, Crismon, Eickbush, Ford, Glazier, Hammon, Kilgore, and Roberts. Along with the missionaries the food began appearing on one of the tables—cakes, cookies, salads, fruit salads piled deep with watermelon and cantaloupe, chips, and salsa.
Elder Atkinson clicked on the new gas grill that had replaced the charcoal one. Apparently, Mutual Dell has done away with the old-fashioned charcoal grills in each campsite with these new, electric start mega-grills. Had everyone brought a piece of meat, it would have all fit on. Thankfully, Elder Eickbush, ever the Boy Scout, brought a host of BBQ utensils.
|Elder Jay E. and Lona Jensen|
The highlight of the evening was listening to Elder Jay E. Jensen, an Emeritus member of the Quorum of Seventy and former member of the Presidency of the Seventy. He and his lovely wife Lona joined us for a night of questions/answers/commentary.
|Elder Jay E. Jensen addressing the group|
Since he had spent a good portion of his professional life working in the Church Educational System, teaching seminary, writing curriculum, and training prospective seminary teachers, he brought a wealth of information about learning and teaching. He spoke about the new teaching and learning curriculum for the youth and urged us all to go to www.lds.org, seek out, and watch the 23 teaching videos found under “Come, Follow Me Learning Resources for Youth.”
|Los Jensen and Elder Eickbush having a deep conversation|
He also introduced the concept of “divine rendezvous,” something we have all experienced. He told a story of a Chinese woman who was told to look up a missionary when she went to Toronto, Canada. Now, Toronto is a big place. She saw two young missionaries at an apartment next to the one where she was staying. She stopped them and asked if they were missionaries. They said yes. She then asked them if they knew Elder So and So. One of the elders pulled back his jacket to reveal his name—the same name of the missionary the woman was told to search out when she went to Toronto.
|los Brown y los Eickbush enjoying the campfire and the discussion|
He has known the Brethren for a long time. He told a few President Packer stories. One important saying many of us say is this: “We need to get the water to the end of the row. President Packer doesn’t necessarily like this particular saying. Instead of just getting the water to the end of the row, we need to make it rain so that the entire field is covered. Thus, he believes it needs to rain revelation to help us all.
Overall we enjoyed (disfrutamos) a wonderful evening of BBQ, excellent food, even choicer conversations with our fellow missionaries, Dominican Republic updates and reminiscings, picture taking, saludos y abrazos, a glowing campfire, questions and answers from Elder Jensen, and knowing we were basking in the midst of one of God’s greatest creations.
|los Berkeley, Roberts, Eickbush, Bowcut--more good food and company|
Gracias a todos por haber venido y participado!